One of Bayern's most memorable cup victories came against struggling FC Ingolstadt on Wednesday as they beat their fellow Bavarians 6-0. A drab first half dominated by Bayern saw them score just once via Thomas Mueller, whose goal took a deflection before going in. The super-subs turned the show on in the second hal,f which can only be labelled as a wonderful exhibition of football.
The lineup was the following:
Joerg Butt (C)
David Alaba, Bayern's current super-sub, scored in the second half after finding a gap between quite a few defenders. Alaba was the best performer and Jupp Heynckes was full of praise for Bayern's young Austrian. Alaba is the youngest-ever player to represent Bayern. He took over the mantle from a certain Toni Kroos, who also featured in the Pokal and was his usual hard-working, visionary self.
Nils Petersen scored an amazing third goalfrom a narrow angle. He scored the fourth after great build-up play from Kroos and Danijel Pranjic. This was Pranjic's first appearance for Bayern this season.
The fifth was an own goal from Marvin Matip (Just in case you are wondering, he is Schalke defender Joel Matip's brother.) It came about as Rafinha came sprinting in—his cross hit the defender and went in.
The sixth came from the very promising Japanese star Takashi Usami. Usami's finishing is one of his assets/ Heynckes only had good things to say about Usami, but he still feels that Usami's physical condition needs to improve for him to get into the match-day squads regularly. Ivica Olic also got a run out and worked hard and obviously, as always, enjoyed himself.
This match made me wonder just how overlooked Tymoshchuk's assets are. He is a great passer and his long balls are quite good. When you are playing next to Bastian Schweinsteiger, I guess, some of your assets tend to get overlooked.
Joerg Butt, meanwhile, found out how Manuel Neuer felt in his first nine Bundesliga match days; he had nothing to do and dealt with a few crosses that came his way admirably.
Next up, Bayern takes on derby rivals Nuremberg. Nuremberg, one of the surprise packages of last season, is struggling this season. They sit 13th in the table; their last game saw them draw 2-2 against Stuttgart. Nuremberg perhaps deserved to win that one—the penalty at 1-0 which went to Stuttgart was a rather unfair one.
This is the second home game for Bayern in a row of three home games. Bastian Schweinsteiger returns after being ruled out with a cold in midweek. The lineup will obviously look very different from the one which featured on Wednesday night.
Bayern is often accused of not having enough depth in the squad.
Despite the fact that Ingolstadt is a division below Bayern, the players showed that they can fill in for injured stars. Petersen already proved this when he had to fill in for Gomez earlier this season. Olic can replace any winger or striker when they are injured. Diego Contento showed that playing him instead of Lahm in some games wouldn't be a bad idea.
Jerome Boateng starts his two-match suspension this week. Daniel Van Buyten is the most likely candidate to fill in. Also, Heynckes will have one eye on the Champions League match against Napoli on Wednesday, so, he might choose to rest some starters.
Resting players for derbies is never a good idea—however, Bayern can afford to drop points in the Bundesliga since they currently have a three-point lead over Borussia Dortmund in second. Also, their goal difference is massively superior to that of the Ruhr side.
This could be the lineup on Saturday:
I think Gustavo will be rested due to the midweek match. If Bayern takes a good healthy lead early on, expect Kroos to get some well-deserved rest. However, derbies are mostly close affairs and considering Bayern lost their previous Bundesliga match, they will be desperate to win this one. This desperation might play into Nuremberg's hands as it did in the Hanover match when Bayern failed to take an early lead.
Last season, this fixture ended 3-0 in Bayern's favour. The match in Nuremberg saw the teams draw 1-1 after a heated and, at times, drab affair. This match is on Saturday. Bayern will then await Napoli.
The derby awaits.